Following the success of his Classic House course in Logic Pro, Maison Records label owner Ian Bland is back to create another comprehensive set of tutorials, this time on creating upbeat, funky disco house in Ableton Live. With a huge amount of experience in the electronic music scene, dating back from his early days with rave outfit Dream Frequency on XL Recordings, Blandy’s depth of knowledge and passion for teaching make the tutorials well worth a watch.
On the course, Blandy shows his hands-on, old school methods for creating a grooving disco house track from scratch, using a combination of Live's devices and 3rd party plugins. Starting with drums, he adds layers of funky bass, guitar licks, brass, strings and a soulful vocal to create a classic disco vibe. The course also goes through the entire arrangement process, teaching how to structure a track with builds and drops that will keep the dancefloor on its toes. The final videos then focus on Blandy’s mixing and mastering techniques, ensuring the track sounds polished and professional.
The track from the course, ‘Set Me Free’, is out now on Blandy’s own Maison records label, so be sure to check it out on SoundCloud.
The course is available to stream immediately after purchase and can be watched 24/7/365. Included is a bonus 100MB disco house sample pack courtesy of Loopmasters. Make sure to watch the sample module and listen to the track from the course below:
Listen to 'Set Me Free' by Blandy:
Module 1 – Intro
This video introduces the course, and gives you the chance to listen to the finished track in full.
Module 2 – Choosing the Vocal
Blandy kicks off the track by choosing some vocals, explaining the considerations that need to be made when picking vocal samples. He also adds some processing to liven them up.
Module 3 – Drums Part 1
In this module the drum sounds and layers of loops are added to start to build up a groove for the track.
Module 4 – Drums Part 2
Blandy processes the drums, using a variety of EQ and compression settings to get them sounding as big as possible. He also makes use of Sample Magic’s AB plugin to listen to another track as a reference point.
Module 5 – Bassline Part 1
This lesson teaches how to program a pumping disco bassline, and also goes through some of the processing techniques involved in getting a warm, rich sound.
Module 6 – Bassline Part 2
In this video, some extra embellishments such as slides and pops are added to the bassline to give it a more realistic feel.
Module 7 – Guitars
This module shows how to create funky guitar riffs, using simpler to chop and slice loops.
Module 8 – Brass
Blandy continues to build up the musical elements of the track, this time adding and processing some trumpets and horns.
Module 9 – Keys
A keyboard riff is added using the Korg M1 plugin to get a Rhodes-esque tone.
Module 10 – Strings
This video shows how to create a realistic disco string part by picking out a small section of an existing loop. The strings are then sidechained to help them groove with the rest of the track.
Module 11 – Choosing FX
In this module, Blandy picks out some FX for the track, with a variety of uplifters and downlifters chosen to blend sections of the track together.
Module 12 - Intro Arrangement
With all the parts in place, Blandy takes a look at beginning the arrangement, starting with a DJ-friendly 32 bar intro.
Module 13 - Arrangement Part 2
The arrangement process continues, with the addition of some automation to introduce the strings and vocals, and the addition of some of the FX.
Module 14 - Arrangement Part 3
This module focuses on creating an 8 bar build up, with automation on the filter of the bass and the vocal delay.
Module 15 - Arrangement Part 4
Blandy teaches how to create effective builds and drops, making use of uplifters and downlifter FX, as well as a filtered kick roll.
Module 16 - Arrangement Part 5
In this video the arrangement is completed, with some vocal and drum fills adding extra interest.
Module 17 - Final Mixdown
Blandy demonstrates his ‘on the fly’ approach to mixing down, again using an AB plugin to listen to another track as a reference point.
Module 18 – Final Tweak
This short video shows Blandy adjusting the loops to make sure they are in time.
Module 19 – Mastering
The course concludes with the track being mastered using Ableton’s Full chain master effect rack. The process of bouncing the track down is also discussed.